Robots, some in disguise, will square off against bubble wrap and bears for a spot in the National Toy Hall of Fame.
The Strong’s National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York, announced 12 finalists for the Class of 2016, including the red and blue Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Transformers, Care Bears and the wooden Fisher-Price Little People.
Other contenders include games Clue and Uno, Dungeons & Dragons and Nerf toys, which made throwing balls around the house slightly safer. Toys without a name brand attached — the swing, pinball and coloring books — rounded out the list.
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The museum will announce finalists on Nov. 10.
Since 1998, the museum has inducted classic toys into its hall of fame. Successful inductees, from the cardboard box to Barbie dolls, were selected for their sustained popularity and their ability to foster creative play, the museum’s website said.
Play has been an important part of being human. Ancient cave drawings in Europe show people on swings, the museum wrote.
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But some toys achieved legend status by accident. Take bubble wrap. In 1957, two engineers fused together two shower curtains, deliberately left air bubbles and marketed their creation as textured wallpaper. It didn’t sell well.
After trying — and failing — to retool the plastic material as greenhouse insulation, bubble wrap eventually found its true purpose as packaging for fragile deliveries and delighting small children.
“Consumers saw the entertainment value in repeatedly popping the bubbles,” the museum noted in its statement. “This amusement factor even spurred an industry of virtual bubble popping — including key chain game and computer games.”
As a reminder: Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day is Jan. 30 next year.
This is important because Sealed Air Corp., the company that has sold the plastic material since 1960, has started producing unpoppable bubble wrap, The Wall Street Journal reported. The company said the move will help cut down the cost of shipping air and make more room on warehouse floors.